Elliot Quest is another great indie title in the Wii U’s quiver of greats.  A quiver is an appropriate analogy as the game’s protagonist uses a bow and arrow to vanquish enemies, amongst other items.  For those looking for a simple one-liner about Elliot Quest, I would describe it as a love letter to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.  This is in no way meant as a negative statement, merely a succinct way of describing Elliot Quest’s core gameplay. 

Speaking of gameplay, players start off in a world full of big pixels and classic music.  The setting is a familiar one for indie games of late: a 2D platformer.  Elliot begins his quest in a forest with little to no explanation on where to go or what to do.  It’s very similar to games like the first and second Zelda games where players are thrust into a world to explore and discover.  In the age of in-game tutorials and assist items, it’s refreshing to have a game that assumes you know what you’re doing.  I would describe the platforming mechanics as pretty ‘stiff’ and unforgiving.  Enemy collision detection is strict and there isn’t much wiggle room for casual players.  I’ve been around the block with challenging games and, believe me, Elliot Quest provides a good challenge, albeit a rewarding one.  When players emerge from a 2D platforming area, they are presented with a beautifully pixelated overworld to explore.  As I mentioned above, it is very reminiscent of Zelda II.  Players can freely traverse the world and there is the occasional enemy encounter, but thankfully they aren’t random.  When touching an enemy on the overworld, players will be put into a 2D platforming area again with several enemies and the occasional treasure chest.  It’s a decent diversion and provides an excuse to gain more experience points (XP) to level up Elliot.  It’s not an RPG by any means, but players can level up and use skill points on various categories like agility and stamina.  Each category will bestow certain traits like the ability to shoot arrows farther and at a faster rate.  The combat is all free form so the similarities to an RPG end with the XP and skill points.  For the most part the gameplay is a fun combination of platformer mixed with side-scrolling shooter.  The gameplay can be unforgiving so players will have to be very precise with their movements and shots.  In some cases, there are small frame rate drops or blips that would affect my timing.  It happened enough to be annoying but hopefully it is addressed in a future update.

The visuals in Elliot Quest are a nostalgic blend of the NES and SNES eras.  The animations are beautifully done and there is a lot of color and detail throughout.  Other than the occasional frame rate dip, the game is very smooth.  The presentation of the inventory and map on the Wii U GamePad was very intuitive and fit the style of the game.  For those who love the pixel art style, you will absolutely love Elliot Quest.

I usually don’t mention the music much in my reviews (shame on me) but I have to mention it.  Elliot Quest’s music is very reminiscent of the songs and sounds of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.  It’s subtle, but there are key parts that reminded me of the woods in A Link to the Past.  It’s a nice set of music and complements the retro feel nicely.

Overall I had a great time with Elliot Quest.  The game’s presentation and nostalgia evoke so many memories for me.  I appreciate that the game lets you explore at your own pace and keeps you guessing as to where to go next.  I think we’ve lost some intuition with how to explore and solve puzzles without tutorials in modern games.  If you’re looking for a fun adventure that will challenge and remind you heavily of classic Zelda games, Elliot Quest is right up your alley.

Elliot Quest gets a 9/10.